Excitement Returns to Historic Columbia Speedway

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The second annual Love Chevrolet Columbia Speedway RacersReunion is set for April 14-17, 2010. The success of the 2009 inaugural event coupled with recent activity at the speedway have stirred anticipation and expectations.

We had a great turn out last year, and we felt like we needed to kick it up a notch this year

It seems remarkable to think that just over a year ago the folks at RacersReunion.com and a group of volunteers began planning the first event at Historic Columbia Speedway since it closed. After lying dormant for some 30 years, a crowd of 30,000 spectators and former race drivers reunited to celebrate the role Columbia Speedway played in the history of stock car racing. That history includes some significant firsts. A young Richard Petty ran his first race there on July 12, 1958 in a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible. He won his first ever race there a year later on July 17, 1959.

Columbia Speedway became the spot of the first NASCAR race to be held under the lights when the Grand National series made its first ever stop there on Saturday night, June 16, 1951. That night Studebaker got its first and only NASCAR win when “The Rebel” Frank Mundy got to the checkers first. Chevrolet got its first NASCAR win at Columbia Speedway when Fonty Flock drove a 1955 Chevy to victory on March 16, 1955. Other first include Buck Bakers first Grand National win on April 12, 1952 in a 1951 Hudson. Buddy Baker ran his first ever race at this historic track on April 4, 1959 in a 1958 Chevrolet.

All the stars of the sport during that era raced at Columbia. Ralph Earnhardt, Lee Petty, Curtis Turner, Tiny Lund, David Pearson, Cotton Owens, Little Bud Moore, are only a few of the greats who came to race there. Doing well at Columbia was an accomplishment recognized by all who competed. The 2009 RacersReunion at Columbia Speedway has proven to be yet another historic event at this special place. The response to that 2009 event has triggered plans and action to preserve the speedway and utilize it as an events facility to serve Cayce, SC and surrounding communities.

The second annual Love Chevrolet Columbia Speedway RacersReunion will be a four-day event beginning on April 14 with the Harley Haven Bike Rally and Concert featuring D.B. Bryant. On Thursday April 15 there will be a chicken bog cook-off, the West Metro Chamber of Commerce Silent Auction, a candle-light track walk, and a sneak peek at the upcoming movie “Red dirt Rising”. On Friday April 16 there will be the Motorama Collector Car auction from 4 PM – 6 PM, the NAPA “Get The Good Stuff” Parade that starts at 6:30 PM from Murray’s Neighborhood Grill, the Lizard’s Thicket Fish Fry, and a concert with Black Bottom Biscuits. On Saturday April 17 the gates open at 9 AM with two autograph sessions at 10 AM and 2 PM, the Motorama Collector Car auction from 12 noon until 5 PM, The NAPA “Get The Good Stuff” Car Show and Vintage Race Car Display, and a concert beginning at 5:30 PM with Jay Sellers and the Crew, Matt Dylan, and Nantucket. The event will end with a fireworks display.

Among the racing celebrities that have already confirmed to attend are Humpy Wheeler, Waddell Wilson, Cecil Gordon, David Pearson, Billy Scott, Little Bud Moore, and Haskel Willingham. Others that have been invited and expected to confirm include Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson, Cotton Owens, Bud Moore, Dave Marcis, and Bubby Baker. Over twenty drivers total are expected to attend. “We had a great turn out last year, and we felt like we needed to kick it up a notch this year”, said event promoter and coordinator, Jeff Gilder. “There will be food and memorabilia vendors along with fun and entertainment for the whole family. It only takes one ticket for admission all four day and that thicket is only $10.00.”

For more information go to the Stock car RacersReunion events calendar at racersreunion.com.

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Jeff Gilder